March 23, 2004

Tell Me When We Will Be Rid of These Men

* Freedom of speech, according to Bush. [via rewindpauseplay]

excerpt:

"When Bush travels around the United States, the Secret Service visits the location ahead of time and orders local police to set up 'free speech zones' or 'protest zones' where people opposed to Bush policies (and sometimes sign-carrying supporters) are quarantined. These zones routinely succeed in keeping protesters out of presidential sight and outside the view of media covering the event.

"When Bush came to the Pittsburgh area on Labor Day 2002, 65-year-old retired steel worker Bill Neel was there to greet him with a sign proclaiming, 'The Bush family must surely love the poor, they made so many of us.' The local police, at the Secret Service’s behest, set up a 'designated free-speech zone' on a baseball field surrounded by a chain-link fence a third of a mile from the location of Bush’s speech. The police cleared the path of the motorcade of all critical signs, though folks with pro-Bush signs were permitted to line the president’s path. Neel refused to go to the designated area and was arrested for disorderly conduct; the police also confiscated his sign. Neel later commented, 'As far as I’m concerned, the whole country is a free speech zone. If the Bush administration has its way, anyone who criticizes them will be out of sight and out of mind.'”

* The Washington Post's Richard Cohen on Bush v. Clarke. an excerpt:

"Rice's real gift is situational rhetoric. Now, with Bush under criticism from a respected terrorism expert -- and a Republican, to boot -- she makes common cause with the Clinton administration. But that was not always the case. Last October, she faulted previous administrations for doing little about the terrorist threat. In a New York speech, she said of the terrorists: 'They became emboldened, and the result was more terror and more victims.'

"A similar point was made back in 2002 by Vice President Cheney's chief aide, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby. He, too, virtually blamed the Clinton administration for Sept. 11. In a New Yorker interview, he listed terrorist attacks on U.S. or allied interests going back to 1993 and concluded that America had shown only weakness in response. 'The Americans don't have the stomach to defend themselves,' he quoted an imaginary Osama bin Laden as saying. 'They won't take casualties to defend their interests. They are morally weak.'

"Libby has a point. The United States did do precious little. But it took a while to stir the United States and pinpoint bin Laden. That juncture was reached during the Clinton administration when, among other things, an attempt was made to kill bin Laden with missiles. If the Clinton administration had indeed acted slowly, what can then be said about the Bush administration, which had been warned by Clinton aides about al Qaeda? Clarke says the Bush team refused to come to grips with bin Laden. Among other things, he asked for a Cabinet-level meeting or access to the president to discuss the al Qaeda threat. For eight months, he got neither."

* When The Lies So Big, by Frank Zappa:

They got lies so big
They don't make a noise
They tell 'em so well
Like a secret disease
That makes you go numb

With a big ol' lie
And a flag and a pie
And a mom and a bible
Most folks are just liable
To buy any line
Any place, any time

When the lie's so big
As in Robertson's case,
(That sinister face
Behind all the Jesus hurrah)

Could result in the end
To a worrisome trend
In which every American
Not "born again"
Could be punished in cruel and unusual ways
By this treacherous cretin
Who tells everyone
That he's Jesus' best friend

When the lie's so big
And the fog gets so thick
And the facts disappear
The Republican Trick
Can be played out again
People, please tell me when
We'll be rid of these men!

Just who do they really
Suppose that they are?
And how did they manage to travel as far
As they seem to have come?
Were we really that dumb?

People, wake up
Figure it out
Religious fanatics
Around and about
The Court House, The State House,
The Congress, The White House

Criminal saints
With a "Heavenly Mission" --
A nation enraptured
By pure superstition

When the lie's so big
And the fog gets so thick
And the facts disappear
The Republican Trick
Can be played out again
People, please tell me when
We'll be rid of these men!

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